Imagine driving down the highway when suddenly you hear a deafening explosion that rattles your teeth. You look around to see if there was a gunshot somewhere? Thankfully, no. Then you worry about your tires, but they are fine. Was it a massive backfire from your engine? No, it turns out, the scary sound came from your sunroof when it exploded into a million pieces. Some people have even said it sounds like a bomb going off.
According to a Consumer Reports article, dramatic sunroof explosions are on the rise. In 1995, there were 3 reported occurrences. By 2014 that number had jumped 187! It's been a steady increase, though in the last few years, that increase has been dramatic with more than 50 being reported every year from '14 through '17. If you are wondering which makers are the worst, well, there's some bad news there too.
While Hyundai is the most reported brand to have shattered sunroofs since 1995, virtually every single maker has had models with exploding glass. Hyundai has had 119, Ford is second with 85, followed Nissan at 82 and Kia at 78.
The offending glass is across models too, with the Scion tC being reported for over 70!
These exploding roofs cause all kinds of safety issues. First, there is obviously the issue of broken glass. Even though it's tempered, it can still cause gruesome injuries. Second is simply the loud bang that accompanies many of these, scaring and distracting the driver. There is also no definitive culprit that causes it. As Consumer Reports says, "These incidents have happened in every month of the year in every part of the country, in vehicles from all over the world; they have occurred on interstates, on country roads, and even while parked in driveways."
So, what are automakers doing about this problem?
Nothing. Or very little it seems, at a minimum. Consumer Reports states their investigation "found that, with a few exceptions, automakers are not acknowledging or resolving the issue. It's also clear that the safety standards and regulatory oversight of sunroofs have not kept pace with the dramatic size and design changes and that more needs to be done to guarantee they are safe." The problem has gotten so bad and the response has been so poor by automakers that, again, according to Consumer Reports, "(the lack of response) may be why consumers seeking remuneration have turned to joining class-action lawsuits brought against individual automakers."
Hopefully, car manufacturers will start paying more attention to this issue before it gets worse.
Has this happened to you or someone you know? Let us know in the comments!